Auburn University’s Safe Harbor introduces 24-hour help line

Published: August 17, 2015
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Assault advocacy program adjusts hours to all day, every day accessibility.

Safe Harbor, an assault advocacy program at Auburn University, is becoming even more accessible for students, staff and faculty. On Aug. 3, Safe Harbor officially changed its hours of accessibility from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Since Safe Harbor's start in 2007, the program has been a tool for students and faculty in need of help after experiencing interpersonal violence from stalking, dating/domestic violence and sexual assault. Safe Harbor offers a range of free services including crisis response, support, information and referrals to anyone seeking help. Safe Harbor advocates are confidential, knowledgeable and support those who experience violence in a professional manner.

"Advocates offer ongoing accompaniment to access medical, legal and campus resources as needed," said Rachael Jones, program coordinator for Auburn University's Health Promotion and Wellness Services. "Because our advocates are professionally trained, we can provide a quality service which can increase the likelihood for recovery after an incidence of violence."

Safe Harbor's mission is now taking on a new sense of immediacy to better serve individuals at the time that help is most needed. The change in the hours of operation was implemented so that advocates will be available on the helpline at any time of the day.

"Having this number accessible to students, faculty and staff at any hour of the day greatly increases the chances of someone accessing the services and resources we can provide," Eric Smith, Director of Health Promotion and Wellness Services said.

In the past, Safe Harbor asked those individuals who experienced violence after hours to send an email to an advocate who would respond as soon as they had a chance. Now that the helpline will be in operation all day and night, individuals will have the option to be able to contact a Safe Harbor advocate at the exact time help is needed. This change is intended to result in a more timely response and ultimately a more beneficial outcome for the person seeking help.

"If there is an incident on Friday night, a person won't have to wait until Monday morning for support, information and referrals," said Jones.

For more information and resources, visit the website at http://www.auburn.edu/safeharbor. To reach a Safe Harbor advocate call (334) 844-7233(SAFE) or email at safeharbor@auburn.edu.

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